20 years ago I looked at a map of the regional Federal Reserve Banks and I thought: Why do we have banks in Richmond, Philadelphia and New York? Cleveland and Chicago? St. Louis and Kansas City? Why does the San Francisco bank handle everything west of Denver? Why do we need 12 banks? At the time, I thought that consolidation would make sense, that having banks in cities where the population was migrating to would make sense…places like Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Denver. This way there wouldn’t be banks essentially sitting on top of each other.
Maybe Treasury Secretary Paulson’s idea isn’t so bad, although I confess I don’t know the details. What I do know is that he has more experience running a large institution than I, and therefore is better qualified to try to make changes to a somewhat anachronistic institution. And change can be good.